Colorado’s US Attorney Announces Resignation To Make Way For Biden Appointee

Dan Boyce/CPR News
U.S. Attorney Jason R. Dunn, flanked by Special Agent in Charge Dean Phillips for the FBI Denver Division, left, and Pueblo Chief of Police Troy Davenport announce the arrest in a plot to bomb Temple Emanuel Synagogue in Pueblo, Colo., Nov. 4, 2019.

Updated 2:32 p.m.

Colorado’s U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn told CPR News he will resign effective Feb. 28.

Dunn, an appointee of former President Trump, was among the more than 50 top federal prosecutors across the country who were asked to resign as President Biden’s Department of Justice begins to install their own picks for the top jobs. 

It’s not unusual for a president to replace his predecessor’s U.S. attorneys. The Biden administration is keeping on a number of acting prosecutors, as well as two that are overseeing politically fraught investigations concerning Hunter Biden and the Trump-Russia probe.

Dunn said he is most proud of his work cracking down on drug trafficking and gang violence.

“Our policy of holding dealers accountable with long prison sentences for any opioid overdose death let drug dealers know we meant business,” he said, in a statement.

He also noted the effort his office made in confronting domestic terrorism — including white supremacy. 

Dunn’s investigators thwarted a planned synagogue bombing in Pueblo and may have prevented mass violence when they arrested a Boulder man for possession of child pornography last year. In the course of that investigation, they also uncovered Nazi propaganda and “hunting guides” he had posted with instructions on where to find Jews and Muslims.

“We confronted domestic terrorism head on and addressed the scourge of white supremacy,” he said.

After the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, Dunn’s office worked to find Coloradans connected to the insurrection. At least five have been charged with crimes so far.

He said he was proud of the office’s accomplishments despite the longest federal government shutdown in history, in 2018, where employees were furloughed without pay or had to work for a month not knowing whether they would get paid. 

“This was later followed by a global pandemic and economic crash that shut down our courts at the same time crime was surging,” he wrote. “And yet our office never missed a beat.”

Dunn joined the U.S. attorney’s office in 2018. He declined to say what he planned to do next. 

Whoever replaces Dunn will have to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.  Colorado’s Democratic Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper have sent a letter of recommendation to the Biden administration with names of recommended replacements. That list includes Denver City Attorney Kristin Bronson, Hetal Doshi, an assistant U.S. Attorney, and Cole Finnegan, a private practice lawyer and former aide to Hickenlooper.